China's rich cruise for marriage on 'love boat'
Money and marriage are modern China's twin obsessions, and would-be princess brides had their chance to pursue both in Shanghai at the weekend.
As they boarded Captain, a square-rigger decked out in pink balloons dubbed "the millionaires' love boat", they braved not only prurient onlookers and the Shanghai rain but the unseen men, selected for their wealth, who had picked them in advance from a catalogue.
The event was a match-making cruise for the rich only, a first even for China's new capitalism, and all 50 participants were granted anonymity by the organisers to save the face of any who may be rejected.
But one entrepreneur, who gave his name only as Mr He, agreed to speak to The Daily Telegraph beforehand, saying he had decided that at the age of 40 it was time to settle down and find a wife.
"My mother and my sister have tried to introduce me to girlfriends," he said. "But the problem is, if I don't like them it means lost face for their families, and that causes difficulties for mine."
It has taken the end of communism for a revolution in love and marriage to sweep China. Mr He's mother would argue for the traditional approach, whereby match-making was conducted by families.